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Norse Come Back to Beat Wright State for 19th Win of the Year

Three different Norse players scored at least 18 points on Tuesday as the Northern Kentucky men’s basketball team closed the game on a 20-9 run to overcome a double-digit deficit and defeat Wright State, 83-76, at home.

With two games left in the regular-season, NKU is now one win away from a 20-win campaign. The Norse improve to 19-10 overall and 10-6 in the Horizon League. 

Cole Murray led Northern Kentucky with 23 points, including five 3-pointers. Lavone Holland II added 19, with three baskets from long range. Drew McDonald scored 18 points, including 9 in the final six minutes to fuel the comeback.

Carson Williams and Jordan Garnett posted 8 points apiece.

Head Coach John Brannen said that he told his team at halftime that Wright State played with a higher intensity than his guys. That helped change the tempo for the Norse. "In the second half, we played like we were supposed to play," Brannen said after the win. "We played with toughness, we played with togetherness, we played with tenacity and an intensity level and purpose. When we do that we can play as good as anybody in the League."

With 6:05 left in the game, a pair of McDonald free throws sparked nine uninterrupted points that gave the Norsea five-point edge at 72-67 with just under four minutes to play.

Wright State tied the game at the 1:20 mark and would knot it up again at 76-all with 45 seconds left but the Norse held the Raiders (19-10, 10-6) scoreless throughout the remainder of the contest and scored seven-straight to seal the win.

The game-ending 7-0 run included five-straight points from McDonald as the Norse defense held Wright State to one field goal across the final three minutes.

With just two games left in the regular season, Northern Kentucky hosts UIC on Friday at 7:30 p.m. following the NKU women’s game against Milwaukee at BB&T Arena. The Norse then wrap up the regular season against League-leading Valparaiso on Sunday at 1 p.m. before the women host Green Bay at 3:30 p.m.

-Staff report

Image via NKU